drank Organic White Peony by Andao
1994 tasting notes

Moving right along through the white tea stash…

Andao is no more, but I still have a number of teas left from my one and only order back in the day, including a couple of white teas.

Because the company is kaput, I couldn’t find a picture of this. The dry leaves are prettier than most — I love the variegated colors, sizes, and shapes of white peony leaves and these are particularly attractive ranging from silver to dark brown and from long, thin, rolled leaves to short, flat, irregularly shaped ones. They smell earthy/planty with a sort of a darjeeling-like sharpness.

The tea is golden yellow and clear. If I poured it into a wine glass, I’d think it was chardonnay.

Flavor is tricky for me, as always with whites. Just when I think I’m finally starting to get them, I get stumped again. It probably doesn’t help that I had a cup of the Todd & Holland Champagne Raspberry right before this.

I’m getting as sweet smell from the cup, kind of like warm, spun sugar. Oddly, there’s a bit of undefined fruitiness as well. Flavor-wise, I get neither of those. But fortunately, I also don’t get the dead plant flavor that I sometimes get with white peony. There’s definitely and earthy/leafy flavor that screams “tea” — that flavor that makes me understand why people compare white tea to back tea even though they don’t really taste anything like each other.

Tomorrow I’ll try it first thing, even before food, and see if that makes a difference.

My highest rated white peony appears to be Adagio’s with a 72. I think this deserves higher. In reading my note on the Adagio, I think I was still in my “noob trying to understand stuff and really searching for what I think should be there” phase rather than the more experienced and blunt place in which I now find myself.

Flavors: Earth, Sugar

185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 0 sec 5 tsp 500 OZ / 14786 ML

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I got obsessed with tea in 2010 for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it. I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I write fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I drink tea without additives. If a tea needs milk or sugar to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’ll rate it high. The exception is chai, which I drink with milk/sugar or substitute. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs, but as my tastes developed they became less appealing — I still enjoy nicely done blends. I do not mix well with tulsi or yerba mate, and savory teas are more often a miss than a hit with me. I used to hate hibiscus, but I’ve turned that corner. Licorice, not so much.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. But I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas in relation to others of the same type, for example, Earl Greys against other Earl Greys. But if a tea rates very high with me, it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is

90-94 Excellent; first rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Very good; will likely buy more

70-79 Good; would enjoy again, might buy again

60-69 Okay; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but likely won’t buy again

Below 60 Meh, so-so, iffy, or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

I don’t swap. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that I have way more tea than any one person needs and am not lacking for new things to try. Also, I have way too much going on already in daily life and the additional commitment to get packages to people adds to my already high stress level. (Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does.)

That said, I enjoy reading folks’ notes, talking about what I drink, and getting to “know” people virtually here on Steepster so I can get ideas of other things I might want to try if I can ever again justify buying more tea. I also like keeping track of what I drink and what I thought about it.

My current process for tea note generation is described in my note on this tea: https://steepster.com/teas/mariage-freres/6990-the-des-impressionnistes


Bay Area, California



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